New Study Finds Majority of Community Financial Institutions Optimistic About 2024 Despite Economic and Regulatory Challenges

Research signals bank leaders to make strategic use of innovative technologies 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Feb. 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Cornerstone Advisors announced today the release of its highly anticipated study, What’s Going On In Banking 2024: Finding the Next Wave to Ride. Authored by noted fintech expert, Cornerstone chief research officer and Forbes contributor Ron Shevlin, the study gleans insights from more than 350 senior executives from community banks and credit unions across the country.

Recognized as the seminal report capturing trends, executive attitudes and technology plans for the banking industry, this year’s What’s Going On In Banking research finds an industry facing a myriad of challenges, including a weak economy, punishing regulatory changes, and the need to make strategic decisions about investments in emerging technologies.

“This year’s report dovetails off the theme of Cornerstone’s 2023 report—Fighting the Headwinds, Riding the Tailwinds,” Shevlin stated. “In 2024, financial institutions are sitting in a windless cove of the economy and the industry, waiting to see where the ‘next wave’ will take them.”

This year’s top topics include:

  • Industry outlook: Compared to last year, the majority of senior executives are “somewhat optimistic” about the industry’s prospects for the coming year. They are, however, evenly divided on whether they think the country will see a recession. Interestingly, a third of executives who are pessimistic about the industry’s prospects do not think there will be a recession in 2024.
  • Competitive threats: The percentage of respondents who consider Big Tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Google), mega banks and big fintechs (PayPal, Square) increased significantly over 2023. Many survey respondents also expressed the view that the U.S. government is a threat, including one who said, “The federal government’s policies are hurting all sectors of the economy.”
  • Technology adoption: The survey revealed that adoption is on the rise for technologies like robotic process automation, machine learning and chatbots. “Still, we would like to see more banks investing in or implementing generative AI in 2024,” Shevlin said.
  • Real-time payments: Although half of surveyed bank and credit union executives said they plan to launch real-time payments in 2024, only 1 in 5 think RTP for commercial payments will be a profit center within three years. Very few credit unions see real-time commercial or retail payments becoming a profit center. “Community financial institutions are missing out on the opportunity to use faster payments as a revenue generator,” Shevlin observed.

To stay in this game, banking leaders must look at the opportunities with fresh eyes and use new approaches to developing innovative strategies, Shevlin maintained. “The call to action for community financial institutions in 2024 is to get the marketing leader, head of digital delivery and head of data analysis together in a room and start creating smart new strategies and strategic directions.”

What’s Going On In Banking 2024 is the ninth in this series conducted annually by Cornerstone Advisors. It is available for download here.

On a Feb. 14 podcast, Shevlin and Cornerstone Advisors President Steve Williams will present key findings from What’s Going On In Banking 2024 and explore what the year ahead holds in store for community-based financial institutions. Subscribe to the podcast here.

About Cornerstone Advisors

For more than 20 years, Cornerstone Advisors has delivered gritty insights, bold strategies and data-driven solutions to build smarter banks, credit unions and fintechs. For more information, visit or connect with us on LinkedIn.

Cate Pitts, Editorial Director
Cornerstone Advisors

(480) 425-5203

SOURCE Cornerstone Advisors